Time to highlight some wedding vendors. How do they get to be someone I refer and recommend? First, it doesn’t happen because they sent me an e-mail, asked to be on my referral list, or offered me a referral fee (kickback). According to some, there are nearly 750 photographers in Central Florida – no, I haven’t actually counted. Only a small percentage, let’s say 10% of them are truly wedding photographers, which reduces the list significantly. Weddings are a unique specialization, Why do you go to an optomotrist to get contacts, not your family doctor. Just because a photographer has a camera does not mean they’re the best to photograph YOUR wedding.
Let’s start with the gorgeous photos you see on their website. Those are the best of many weddings – not really representative of one couple’s whole wedding. Not every bride is a “Barbie” model. How do they work with real women who aren’t “perfect?” Every photographer has bad photos. You want to see every photo of your wedding – do you want them to delete only photo of Uncle Joe because it was a little out of focus?
You’re evaluating 3 aspects: their products, their service, and their personality.
Unless you’re a technical expert, you’ll select a photographer based on liking what you see (products) and “they’re nice” or something to that effect, and your sense of “value” on what you’re getting for what your photography $$$. Being able to have a good rapport with your photographer is important, but “nice” only goes so far – you need service too.
So, why would a consultant have nearly 20 photographers on their referral list? Because it’s our job to have worked with 50 to 60 photographers and refer those that have the best of everything: product, professionalism, service reputation, experience, personality, equipment (including backup), personality, a passion for weddings, and a solid “track record” with our clients. The best photographers are working by referrals, not by great websites, ads in magazines, or booths at bridal shows. It’s our job to play “matchmaker” and refer vendors that “fit” your vision, budget, and personality. For instance, I work with two photographers for intimate or destination weddings. They’re in slightly different price ranges, but still less than many in the area, mostly because of our long-term relationship, we truly like working together, and they prefer a wedding of 5 on the beach to a wedding of 500 in a ballroom. Other photographers like large wedding parties with every combination of family members at upscale hotels, but may not want to deal with the salt, sand, sea, and sweat of beach weddings. Sure, they’ll do it, but it’s not their passion. It’s our job to know that and to help you select the photographer that best meets your needs, saving you time, money, energy, and stress.
We’ll cover other selection considerations in Part II.